this is bbc news — i'm simon mccoy. the headlines at 103m: thousands of people seek refuge on the beach and in boats to escape bush fires in australia — military helicopters and the navy are deployed to help them. nothing prepares you for that bearing down of a fire front, charging at a community. i mean, we're talking massive walls of fire, coming straight at you. former nissan boss carlos ghosn flees to lebanon, despite being under house arrest in tokyo on financial misconduct charges. the national living wage is to rise in april by 6.2% — four times the rate of inflation. heterosexual couples in england and wales will be able to enter into civil partnerships from today, giving them similar rights to people who are married. meet the seal that commutes between the isle
of man and cornwall — as record sightings of whales, dolphins and seals are reported in british waters. coming up in half an hour, we bring you some of the highlights of the victoria derbyshire programme from the last year, including our exclusive film on the burning of plastic waste in indonesia. and the ii—year—old liverpool fan who knocked himself unconscious on a bmp knocked himself unconscious on a lamp post after running out after his hero, mo salah. devastating bushfires across large parts of australia have claimed two more lives. the latest victims, a 63—year—old man and his 29—year—old son, died in new south wales. in the neighbouring state of victoria, thousands of people were forced to seek refuge on beaches and boats, after becoming trapped by advancing bushfires.
residents and holiday—makers in mallacoota, in east gippsland, described how the morning sky was turned black by clouds of ash and embers. phil mercer reports. stuck in a nightmare. the sky in mallacoota turned a grotesque red, as strong winds pushed out of control bushfires towards the popular seaside town about 500 kilometres east of melbourne. thousands of people were trapped and sought shelter on the beach. some waded into the water to escape red hot embers that rained down. others fled by boat, but most waited patiently for the danger to pass, or for help to arrive. it's still a dynamic and dangerous situation, so we've got embers going into mallacoota at the moment. we've got 4,000 people on the beach there, that are being very well protected by our firefighters. the australian navy could be brought in to provide food, water, and power to communities isolated
by the fires. once again, very hot temperatures and gusty winds have combined to make this another dangerous and destructive day. at least two people have died and several others are missing, as dozens of blazes rage in south—eastern australia. the authorities say that many houses have been lost. the new south wales rural fire service commissioner, shane fitzsimmons, says this is the state's worst bushfire season on record. the crisis shows no sign of ending. for many australians, the new year will bring more anxiety and fear. phil mercer, bbc news, sydney. earlier, i spoke to david jeffery. he runs the wave 0cean b&b in mallacoota and had to seek refuge on the beach when the fires struck. i asked him what the situation was like now. well, it's evening now, so things are...
..people are settling a little bit. behind us, there's still active fire. hooter. that there is fire trucks filling up from the inland here, a bit of salt water and everything, still trying to douse the fires. occasionally, another house goes, unfortunately. notjust houses but people we love and care about and it's their dreams going up in smoke. this is a beautiful, beautiful part of the world. we know the dangers when we live out in these areas. yes, it's been dry, but these are eucalyptus forests. they've been selected by fires over many centuries. they're the only ones that survive, everything else has gone over those many centuries. so, we know the dangers, but the reality is we might know it but we don't really know it. when it goes off today, it's horrendous. i'm just thinking, i don't
want to ever go through this again. i think i'll go and live... nothing prepares you for that bearing down of a fire front charging at a community. we're talking massive walls of fire, coming straight at you. we had 4,000 people... let me show you. all along here, along the wall, along here, everyone ready to dive into the water if it got here. it didn't. thank god we didn't get the fire balls hitting us here because we would have had mass casualties. but, yeah, thank god. it was answered, the prayer. thank you, jesus, you really answered us. even though it might not look like he has, there could have been hundreds killed, if not more than that. we are lucky and thankful we've had a little bit of rain. we've got the authorities here doing their bit, the government doing things with the militaryjust off here. they've been feeding us with pies
and all sorts of things. but it's still going on. some people are trying to go back out there to their homes, i'm tempted to too because miraculously our b&b is still standing, i don't know if you can see in the distance. i thought i was watching it burn to the ground today. we would have if i'd had to but i was finding it hard, emotionally, watching other peoples homes. people i know and care about and love. in small communities, when you have a thousand people... there is love and care. it is gut—wrenching to go through. i don't know how i can look these people in the eye, that my home survives and theirs doesn't. the former head of the renault—nissan car company, carlos ghosn, has flown to lebanon, saying he could not get justice in japan. mr ghosn, who's spent nine months under house arrest on charges of financial misconduct,
is believed to have arrived in beirut by private jet. in a statement, he described his treatment in japan as "political persecution", and said he would no longer be "held hostage" by what he called a "rigged japanese justice system". gareth barlow has more. carlos ghosn shouldn't have been able to leave japan. he'd surrendered his passport and was supposed to ask for a court's permission to travel. so when he unexpectedly arrived in lebanon, japanese authorities were stunned and left scrambling for answers. in a statement, mr ghosn said: it's a marked turnaround for a man it's a marked turnaround for a man
once revered in japan. carlos ghosn was one of the great tycoons of the car industry. at one point, nissan, renault and mitsubishi were all under his control. he was a very powerful car executive who was particularly known for his efficient cost cutting, which saved nissan in essence, yeah, so a hard—nosed businessman, who seemed to have a very good touch in turning companies around. but all that changed in november 2018. following accusations of significant acts of misconduct, including under—reporting his pay, and the personal use of company assets, ghosn was arrested and faces trial injapan. the former nissan boss denies wrongdoing. his lawyers accuse the japanese government of conspiring against him, calling the prosecution's case politically motivated.
nissan workers gave their reaction to the news he'd gone to lebanon. translation: i've seen a few media reports. there are some things that ghosn did that i didn't understand. i think he fled because he did something. whoever escapes — wins. i envy people with money. translation: as ordinary japanese citizens, we want ghosn to reveal the truth. we want him to appear in an appropriate place and speak with his own words. after decades of corporate success and a year of sensational headlines, carlos ghosn‘s story has taken a dramatic turn. where it will end remains unknown. gareth barlow, bbc news. the government has announced that the national living wage will go up in april for workers over the age of 25. rising by 6.2%, the living wage from april will be £8.72 an hour. that's an increase of 51p an hour on the current rate. there's also a rise to the minimum wage for 21 to 2a years —
going up to £8.20, an increase of 6.5%. joining me now from plymouth is neil carberry, the business representative on the low pay commission and chief executive of the recruitment and employment confederation. thank you forjoining us this morning. why did you recommend this figure? your viewers might remember george osborne made a big commitment on in 2015 to a political commitment to raise the living wage by 2020. the rate today does that. our role isn't a crystal ball games but to judge whether the economy can afford that and the conclusion we reached as well there have been some minor impacts of raising the wage, particularly for part—time workers in ruraland particularly for part—time workers in rural and coastal towns, largely there's been little employment impact so far. last year saw the strongest wage growth we have seen in the uk for a decade. the
employment rates are high so while growth was a little lower than it had been in previous years, we thought it was an affordable step. when you say an affordable impact so far, there are smaller businesses who may struggle with this?” far, there are smaller businesses who may struggle with this? i think thatis who may struggle with this? i think that is absolutely a concern we are hearing. in fact, that is absolutely a concern we are hearing. infact, we that is absolutely a concern we are hearing. in fact, we spend a lot of time talking to organisations like the fsb. two things we would say. firstly, it's really important that as we look to the future path of the minimum wage, we understand affordability for business really matters. the chancellor set out a plan for raising the minimum wage to 66% of average earnings or about £10.50 by 2024. i think politicians need to understand that that kind of rise doesn't come for free. they will need to be looking at the kind of supportive policies around that that will help businesses, particularly looking at things like tax policies, national insurance and
also things like business rates and the apprenticeship levies, so small firms can afford rises going forward. i think everyone agrees we wa nt forward. i think everyone agrees we want the minimum wage to rise but it has to do so sustainably. it's a difficult balance if you are a small company, if your wage bill goes up, you likely employ fewer people? so far we have not seen large scale evidence of that. where we have seen evidence, it tends to be people may be getting a few less hours a week but they are getting more money for the hours they work. the impact so far has been quite minimal. as i said earlier, itjustifies taking the step that we have recommended to the step that we have recommended to the government today. what impact do something like this have on lifting people out of poverty? first and foremost, it gives 1.5 million people a pay rise and that clearly helps. critically, the wage alone cannot lift people out of poverty. that is a complex question involving things like peoples costs, things like utility bills but importantly,
also the benefits system, which is the critical driver of income for particularly lower earning people. we need to take a wider view of income to understand it properly. a lot of that is not within the remit of low pay commission. it's with the government to think about. raising the minimum wage benefits people right across the income spectrum, because national minimum wage earners live in mixed income families. neil carberry, thank you for joining families. neil carberry, thank you forjoining us. the headlines on bbc news... thousands of people seek refuge on the beach and in the sea to escape bush fires in australia — military helicopters and the navy are deployed to help them. former nissan boss carlos ghosn flees to lebanon, despite being under house arrest in tokyo on financial misconduct charges. the national living wage
is to rise in april by 6.2% — four times the rate of inflation. sport, and for a full round up, from the bbc sport centre, here'sjohn watson. good morning. a change to football's laws is under consideration as the game's rule makers warn var is being used incorrectly. lukas brud, the general secretary of the ifab, said there may need to be a re—adjustment around its use, adding when it comes to offside — var should not be "too forensic" and should only be used to reverse "clear and obvious" errors. the body could be asked to trial a change to the law, with players only penialised if there is "clear daylight" between them and the defender. after reaching the final of the pdc world darts championship, peter wright was labelled out of order by the man he beat, gerywyn thomas, as tempers spilled over. "snakebite" wright took the first set of this heated semi final at ally pally, and seemed to revel in reminding his opponent who was on top.
but price got his own back when he won the second set, letting out a huge roar which was aimed in wright's direction. it was wright who kept his cool to win it. no handshakes at the end, though, as he booked his spot in the final. where he will face the reigning champion, michael van gerwen who is one match away from successfully defending his title. the world number one beat nathan aspinall 6—3. van gerwen‘s attempting to win the title for a fourth time. rhys webb's signed a two—year deal to rejoin the ospreys from next season, which could see him return to the wales international side. the scrum half's returning to wales after toulon agreed to release him from the final year of his contract forfamily reasons. he left ospreys in 2018 to join the french side for three years, which ruled him out of test selection for his country, but his return will make him available to new wales coach wayne pivac. there's been a boost for england
in their preparatiosn ahead of the second test with south africa in three days' time. ollie pope says he's ready to go if selected after recovering from the illness which ruled him out of the first—test defeat. the sickness has now affected 11 players in the camp. couldn't be worse timing really, with the test match but luckily feeling all right now. been feeling good for the last few days, so i'm on the mend and ready to go. i was a bit more feverish. for the first two days, i sort of stayed in bed, really. i think probably quartet off broad and those guys who missed about a week of the warm up games, which wasn't ideal. it swept through pretty much the whole camp so there's not much we could have done about it. caused a few problems of england camp and still sounds a little under the weather. opener dom sibley is feeling better and is expected to train tomorrow.
there is also live big bash from australia on 5 live sport extra — the new year's eve game between sydney thunder and top side adelaide strikers. you can follow that — find more on the bbc sport website. that is all from me, simon. thank you, john. the government says it will raise concerns with the authorities in cyprus about the fairness of a trial of a british woman convicted of lying about being gang raped. lawyers for the 19—year—old insist she was pressured by police into changing her story. they say she wasn't given a fair trial, and they plan to appeal. katy austin has been following the story. the young british woman at the heart of this case hasn't been able to leave cyprus sincejuly. yesterday, she was found guilty of making a false statement about a crime the country's law says was imaginary. her lawyers insist both the police investigation and the court process were flawed. they plan to appeal. the young israeli tourists who were originally accused of raping the young woman, were freed and allowed to fly home after she retracted the allegation.
she says she only did that because she was put under huge pressure by police questioning when she was vulnerable. unusually, the british foreign office has made a public intervention. a spokesperson said the uk was seriously concerned about the fair trial guarantees in what it called the deeply distressing case. it said it would be speaking to the cypriot authorities about it. we're glad the foreign office is finally assisting with the case. the foreign office should, we say, help british people when they get in trouble at a much earlier stage, but we do welcome the support of the foreign office with this case. women's rights activists demonstrated outside court. they argue that the young woman is a victim, not a criminal. she told the sun newspaper the judgment was not a surprise, but she would fight it, saying one moment she was the victim, the next the accused. sentencing is due on the 7th of january. ajail term of up to
a year is a possibility. katy austin, bbc news. an american man accused of stabbing five jewish people during a hanukkah celebration in new york state has been charged with hate crimes. grafton thomas did not enter a plea and was remanded in custody. prosecutors filed the latest charges after allegedly finding journals he'd kept which referred to adolf hitler. saturday's attack was the latest of several incidents targeting thejewish community in the region. thousands of heterosexual couples in england and wales are expected to enter into civil partnerships from today. it comes after a long legal battle agaist the law that had previously only permitted same—sex couples to become civil partners. our legal correspondent clive coleman reports. rebecca and charles are in a loving relationship and want to formalise their union without tying the knot. we saw ourselves as partners in life and we wanted to be partners in law. we felt a civil partnership best
reflected the nature of our relationship. five years after being refused permission to become civil partners, today they will be among the first heterosexual couples to do so. a lengthy legal battle culminated in a unanimous supreme court ruling in 2018 that the law, which restricted civil partnerships to same—sex couples, was discriminatory and breached the couple's right to a family and private life. from today, the union will be open to the majority of the uk's 3.3 million cohabiting couples. many mistakenly think they have the same property, inheritance and tax entitlements to those enjoyed by married couples, but they don't. the government estimates as many as 84,000 mixed—sex couples could become civil partners this year, thereby enjoying greater rights and protections within their relationship without having to get married. a new type of union for a new decade. clive coleman, bbc news.
more than 800 sightings of whales, dolphins and seals have been recorded in british waters this year. the wildlife trust's review of the uk's marine environment reveals that thousands of people volunteered to clean beaches — amid growing concern over wildlife, climate change and pollution. 41 cnew marine conservation zones around england were also announced. joining me now from plymouth isjoan edwards — the director of living seas at the wildlife trusts. good morning to you. good morning. very quickly, one thing that makes an eyebrow shoot up is this seal that seems to commute from where you are to the isle of man? it left the isle of man and was then seen in cornwall. nobody expected it to travel that far, so it's quite amazing, really. and some good news in what is, how would you describe the general theme of the report,
positive? it's positive, it's about people taking part. over 5000 wildlife trust volunteers took part in surveys about the shore, looking out for unusual sightings and cleared several tonnes of plastic litter from the beach. cleared several tonnes of plastic litterfrom the beach. but cleared several tonnes of plastic litter from the beach. but it's fantastic that people are wanting to do their part and actually being on the coast or in the countryside is really good for your well—being, as well. plastic, you can hear the groa ns well. plastic, you can hear the groans around the country but we really are alive to this problem now, aren't we? yes but it hasn't gone away. yesterday i was kayaking in plymouth on the sound and you just looked into the water and there was lots of plastic there. there is a very large gannet colony, the largest in england, and it is devastating when you go to see the chicks there, because the nests are literally made of plastic. what tends to happen in some of those chicks get caught up in the plastic and die. you talk about the increasing numbers of volunteers. we
heard from yesterday from greta thunberg, we need to be more in touch with wildlife and its impact on us. do you think we are getting that message? i think a lot of people now realise they can get involved. anyone around the country can involved. anyone around the country ca n co nta ct involved. anyone around the country can contact their local wildlife trust and volunteer. you don't have to just volunteer at the coast, you can take part in river cleaning, you can take part in river cleaning, you can go out onto nature reserves and help manage the nature reserves. there's lots of opportunities. as i said and as greta said yesterday, it is good for you. it is really good to get out and experience wildlife. lots of us don't think of marine life and yet it is a huge contribution and sightings of whales and doble fins of the yorkshire coast at things to be held? it's amazing, people think of blue planet is somewhere else but we have our own blue planet. we have 27 different species of dolphins and whales. we have seals and basking sharks. we have blue sharks. we even
have corals, so some amazing things to see. if you join your wildlife trust or volunteer for the wildlife trust, we can help you actually appreciate some of these things. we have been looking at some amazing images from the ciba salt marsh restoration is very important, why? it's amazing in terms of the amount of carbon it captures. as we all know, we face the climate change problem and one of the best ways to lock up that carbon is to regenerate oui’ lock up that carbon is to regenerate our salt marsh is that most people don't realise, 85% of our salt marsh has gone in the last 100 years. as well as planting trees, it is really important that we don't burn are pete and restore our salt marsh. lots of good news, some less good news. what's happened in the isles of scilly? it's a real shame, the kittiwakes bred successfully in the spring that all the chicks died.
they were preyed on by birds of prey, a natural phenomenon but very sad. do you enter 2020 hopeful? really looking forward to 2020 and i hope we can double the amount of volu nteers hope we can double the amount of volunteers getting involved in the wildlife trusts stoplight joan edwards, good to talk to you, happy new year to you. thank you, happy new year. the rail minister has written to train companies saying he is unhappy that some operators are not running fully accessible trains for disabled users. new legislation comes into force tomorrow although ten companies have been forced to apply for temporary exemptions. the chief executive of the rail delivery group, which represents rail companies, has insisted the industry is committed to making the railway more accessible. police are warning people not to attend new year celebrations on the river thames in london without a ticket, as the uk prepares to usher in 2020. more than 100,000 tickets have been bought for tonight's sold—out fireworks display, where approximately 12,000 fireworks are set to light up the capital's skyline when the clock strikes midnight. the metropolitan police is urging those without tickets to watch from home or attend other events in the city.
hogmanay celebrations got underway in edinburgh last night. the festivities began in the city as around 40,000 people joined a torch—lit procession which ended with them forming the shape of two humans reaching out a "hand of friendship". the events will end with the traditional firework display with more than 3,600 fireworks being set off at edinburgh castle at midnight. now it's time for a look at the weather with simon king. good morning. hello, simon. the weather is pretty quiet to end 2019 no significant issues in the forecast for the next couple of days, really. we have had some fog this morning, that is tending to lift. you can see in london, the shard still beneath that fog. quite cloudy across many southern areas into the afternoon. a few showers around the isles of scilly and the south—west of england and cool more. further up north, plenty of sunshine
in lincolnshire, northern england, scotla nd in lincolnshire, northern england, scotland and northern ireland. a bit chillier compared to yesterday, temperatures for — six celsius. further south, 8—10. if you are heading out this evening, going to a fireworks display, hogmanay, you will see the clouds drifting further north and east lead. it will be dry. there could be some fog patches developing, especially over some of the hills but not bad at all if you are out and about through this evening. as for new year's day, the start of 2020, lots of dry weather around. lots of cloud, though, and temperature is tending to left. you can see in london, the shard still beneath that fog. quite cloudy across many southern areas into the afternoon. a few showers around the isles of scilly and the south—west of england and cornwall. further north, plenty of sunshine in lincolnshire, northern england, scotla nd lincolnshire, northern england, scotland and northern ireland. a bit chilly compared to yesterday, temperatures 4—6dc. further south, 8-10. if temperatures 4—6dc. further south, 8—10. if you are heading out this evening, going to a fireworks display, hogmanay, you will see the clouds drifting further north and eastward. it will be dry. there could be some fog patches developing, especially over some of the hills but not bad at all if you are out and about through this evening. as for new year's day, the start of 2020, lots of dry weather
around. lots of cloud, though, and temperatures about seven or eight celsius. bye—bye for now. hello, this is bbc news with me, simon mccoy. the headlines: thousands of people seek refuge on the beach and in the sea to escape bush fires in australia — military helicopters and the navy are deployed to help them. nothing prepares you for that bearing down of a fire front, charging at a community. i mean, we're talking massive walls of fire coming straight at you. former nissan boss carlos ghosn flees to lebanon, despite being under house arrest in tokyo on financial
misconduct charges. the national living wage is to rise in april by 6.2% — four times the rate of inflation. heterosexual couples in england and wales will be able to enter into civil partnerships from today, giving them similar rights to people who are married. victoria derbyshire now looks back at the exclusive interviews and films featured on her programme in 2019. hello. on her programme in 2019. welcome. on her programme in 2019. over the next half an hour we'll bring you some highlights from our programme over the last year. we start with a group of men who appeared —— over the year we discover that hundreds of british teenagers were being sent by their parents to africa to avoid knife crime in the uk. the parents said they did not view it as a long—term solution that had taken the decision for the
safety of their children. if your child is involved in a gang and there is nowhere for him to hide, you taken there is nowhere for him to hide, you ta ken back there is nowhere for him to hide, you taken back to africa, it is safer than in london. if you look a specific way or live in a specific area and you are from —— and you are area and you are from —— and you are a specific age, you will be targeted. there are mothers sending their teenagers back home, saying it is much safer than living in london. she said she took her seven back to somaliland, he spent a year there, during that time he acquired an education. —— she took her site back. he was studious again and was teaching other children, he enjoyed his time, he said his preference was